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President Obama's Message to Iran Draws Many to VOA

Message mentions new beginning, hope for constructive ties

Washington, D.C., March 23, 2009 - President Obama's message to the Iranian people on the Nowruz holiday drew millions of viewers and listeners to the Voice of America ( ), the largest international Persian-language broadcaster.

By Monday, VOA sites had more than 134,000 views of the three-minute speech, which Obama delivered late last Thursday as Iranians prepared to celebrate Nowruz, the Persian new year. The video was posted on,, and VOA’s partner YouTube channels. VOA's Persian News Network (PNN) also broadcast the message to Iran, a country with a restricted media, on satellite television and on shortwave radio.

Over the weekend, PNN received and broadcast e-mails from inside Iran, many of them praising Obama's speech. In one, Arash said he was pleased with Obamas "message because he (Obama) actually recognizes the Islamic Republic of Iran." The writer also said he hoped Iran's leaders "will study Obama's speech and make a good decision."

In his remarks, Obama talked of a "new beginning," saying he hoped Iran, the United States and other nations would form constructive ties. He also praised Iran's "great and celebrated culture."

VOA's dissemination of the video was also cited by Fox News Network, the Times of London and the Guardian in the United Kingdom, among many other places.

VOA has the largest combined radio and television audience of all international broadcasters in Iran, with one in four adult Iranians tuning into a VOA show at least once a week. VOA broadcasts seven hours of television daily, repeated in a 24-hour format, and five hours of radio. Broadcasts are available round-the-clock on the Internet at

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. Government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts approximately 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 134 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.

For more information, call VOA Public Relations at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail